Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greenhorns Guerilla Farming - Promoting agriculture to a new generation

Starting next Monday, I will be a farming intern on a highly diversified family farm, learning skills that could eventually make me a professional organic farmer, if I so desired.

Now, I've never wanted to be a farmer. And even though I am interning on a farm, I still don't plan on pursuing farming as a career. That is not to say that I won't use what I learn to grow some of my own food, and to inform my writing and my career path as an advocate for small farmers and organic agriculture.*

That being said, I have stumbled upon an amazingly cool resource for young farmers. It's called The Greenhorns. Their mission is to "recruit, promote and support young farmers in America," and they describe themselves as "a grassroots campaign for agricultural reform." And I have no qualms in wholeheartedly declaring myself their newest - and quite possibly their greenest - recruit.

Let's begin with Greenhorns founder, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, who is spearheading the young farmers movement. (For a great profile on her, check out this Grist article.) She is also the director of a new documentary that explores the lives of young farmers in America, the trailor for which is enticingly displayed front and center on their website. Well, front and slightly to the right. In Fleming's words:

We're making a documentary film about young farmers, their struggle and their valor, the redemptive force that they have for our society, for our culture, for our agriculture, for our countryside, for our nation.
The documentary - entitled The Greenhorns, curiously enough - is still in post-production, but they are currently scheduling screenings for a screen tour this year. This is a film that I am excited to see.

Besides the documentary trailor, the Greenhorns website also has fabulous resources for anyone who has so much as fantasized about the farming lifestyle:
  • The Greenhorns' Guide For Beginning Farmers is a 30-page guide absolutely packed with tips on finding apprenticeships, getting land, business planning, marketing, etc. It also lists books and websites where the aspiring farmer can find valuable information on pest management, soil science, animal husbandry, seeds, equipment, and so forth.
  • Greenhorns has a Wikispace site as a portal for young farmers to find further resources.
  • You can sign up to receive their newsletter which is chock full of goodies and updates.
  • They even have a podcast. Be still, my heart.
  • And - AND! - they have posters. Really cool ones. I can't wait until I live somewhere longer than a few months that has walls, so I can indulge.

This organization is the coolest of cool. I've already found so many fantastic sources that I didn't know existed. I will certainly be keeping tabs on these people for the forseeable future.

Internship readiness update... only three more days until I leave. And have I started packing? Of course not. Have I finished unpacking from AmeriCorps NCCC, which ended in November? I plead the fifth.

*And who knows, really? I'm far more likely now to become a farmer than I would have been this time last year. Especially if a strapping farm boy gives me a come-hither look. I wouldn't even look back. But seriously... the point is that it's not outside the realm of possibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment